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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

 

From The Legal Examiner:

Elderly patients are prescribed drugs they do not need, or drugs that are unnecessarily dangerous. According to a study done in the Netherlands and published in PLOS One, August 2012, inappropriate prescribing practices are all too common in the United States especially among the elderly. Such inappropriate prescribing practices are a serious threat to the health and welfare of elderly patients, as well as the solvency of the Medicare system. Many of the most commonly misprescribed drugs can cause confusion, altered levels of consciousness, and an increased risk of falls. All of this leads to decreased independence, and lower quantity and quality of life.

The drugs noted to be most often misprescribed include:

Doxazosin. This drug belongs to a class of anti-hypertensive medications known as Alpha Blockers. Worstpills.org lists this drug as a DO NOT USE drug because there are much safer, more effective and cheaper alternatives. In 2000, the National Institutes of Health found that users of Doxazosin were 25% more likely to have adverse cardiac events than users of Hygroton. Hygroton works better than Doxazosin and is significantly cheaper. On top of that the NIH study found that elderly patients taking Doxazosin were much more likely to suffer fainting, falling, and urinary incontinence (in women).

Diphenhydramine. This is an antihistamine drug found in many OTC drugs for anti allergy, sleeping, and cold medications. Unfortunately in addition to blocking histamines, this drug also interferes with the action of acetylcholine in the nervous system which can cause confusion, drowsiness, constipation, urinary retention, dry mouth, and impaired sweating which can cause heat induced injury and death.

Amitriptyline. This is an antidepressant medication. Worstpills.org lists this as a DO NOT USE drug because it has more side effects than any other drug in its class. Mental side effects include confusion , delirioum, short-term memory loss, disorientation and impaired attention.

The elderly use drugs far more often than younger people. As a result, it is very important for the elderly and their caregivers to know what it is that they are being prescribed. Too often, habit or profit trump what is best for elderly patients.
Link to The Legal Examiner.

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